Socrates Does Shakespeare: Seminars and Film

Overview

Victor Moeller contends that authentic learning begins only when teachers challenge students with real questions that demand solutions. Socrates Does Shakespeare: Seminars and Film will help teachers of the next generation develop skills of independent, reflective, and critical thinking. It explains how to use film to bring Shakespeare to life through comparison-contrast discussion and writing. This book includes: Lesson plans on Shakespearean tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and Henry V, Lesson ...

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Overview

Victor Moeller contends that authentic learning begins only when teachers challenge students with real questions that demand solutions. Socrates Does Shakespeare: Seminars and Film will help teachers of the next generation develop skills of independent, reflective, and critical thinking. It explains how to use film to bring Shakespeare to life through comparison-contrast discussion and writing. This book includes: Lesson plans on Shakespearean tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and Henry V, Lesson plans on Shakesperean comedies: Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Merchant of Venice, and Measure for Measure, Plot-check quizzes, Exercises on techniques of the Socratic method of teaching and learning, Guidelines for discussion and writing about the films, Basic questions of interpretation on the plays, Research topics for independent study, Film notation sheets. Moeller believes that anyone can acquire a life-long education from reading the works of Shakespeare-the ultimate English author-and that reading and meditation on Shakespearean plays can help form personal values.This book will be of interest to high school and college English teachers and college professors of education course.

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Editorial Reviews

Reference and Research Book News
Writing for secondary and post-secondary school English teachers, Moeller explains how to teach Shakespeare using the Socratic method, while also teaching students to think critically. His further aim is for students to use Shakespeare to learn about themselves.
Utah English Journal
Moeller's book is very helpful to a high school teacher interested in better teaching his students how to think about literature. After laying some helpful groundwork about how and why his Socratic method works, Moeller offers seminar guidelines for students to co-lead fifteen-minute discussions of specific Shakespeare plays. In addition to useful film guides and writing assignments, the lesson plans feature effective scaffolding techniques which lead students to compose their own effective Socratic questions for use in a class discussion to facilitate thinking and understanding. Supplemental reading suggestions, such as John Updike and James Thurber stories for "Macbeth", invite students to make connections beyond the Shakespeare text, and are well chosen and relevant to students' lives. Socrates Does Shakespeare is a framework that will equip teachers like me, already employing Socratic methods once in a while, to do it more consistently with texts I already teach, and to consider new units based on texts and films not yet part of our curriculum. Moeller has done much of the work for us by creating thought-provoking questions which lead students to explore the ambiguity of the plays and appreciate their complexity. I know my own students will benefit from the carefully thought out sequences he employs. I recommend this volume to teachers of upper division or honors high school students or adults.
— Gordon Hultberg, editor
Greg Secora
A teacher's teacher, former Great Books leader-trainer Professor Victor Moeller applies the insightful questioning methods of Socrates to selected works of Shakespeare with detailed time-lined lesson plans incorporating films, time-saving quizzes and original essay exams. Every English department's treasure and every English teacher's must-have, this busy-teacher-friendly resource is indeed the gift that keeps on giving and is never returned.
John Bardin
Finally, I have found a most useful book that has already helped me to conduct good discussions that involve all my students with the plays of Shakespeare that I take up in my Advanced Placement classes (on a two-year cycle)—Macbeth, Hamlet, Much Ado, Henry V, King Lear, and Merchant of Venice. The focus of the book is not on expert critical opinion but on helping teachers and students to arrive at their own individual interpretations based on a close and active reading of the text. Comparison-contrast discussions of the film versions of these plays involves today's visually-minded students in ways that I have been unable to do until now.
Michael Travers
If the goal of secondary English education is to foster in our students the ability to read texts closely and well, and an ability to think independently and critically, then Victor Moeller's Socrates Does Shakespeare: Seminars and Film is spot on. The book is not burdened with theory over practice, but it is thoroughly grounded in sound theoretical and pedagogical principles. For the beleaguered secondary and college English teacher facing all those students in classes or blocks every day, the practical helps in the book are life-savers. For anyone who wants to help the process of effective learning in the Shakespeare classroom, this book is a 'must have'. Do yourself a favor; read the book-and use it.
Utah English Journal - Gordon Hultberg
Moeller's book is very helpful to a high school teacher interested in better teaching his students how to think about literature. After laying some helpful groundwork about how and why his Socratic method works, Moeller offers seminar guidelines for students to co-lead fifteen-minute discussions of specific Shakespeare plays. In addition to useful film guides and writing assignments, the lesson plans feature effective scaffolding techniques which lead students to compose their own effective Socratic questions for use in a class discussion to facilitate thinking and understanding. Supplemental reading suggestions, such as John Updike and James Thurber stories for "Macbeth", invite students to make connections beyond the Shakespeare text, and are well chosen and relevant to students' lives. Socrates Does Shakespeare is a framework that will equip teachers like me, already employing Socratic methods once in a while, to do it more consistently with texts I already teach, and to consider new units based on texts and films not yet part of our curriculum. Moeller has done much of the work for us by creating thought-provoking questions which lead students to explore the ambiguity of the plays and appreciate their complexity. I know my own students will benefit from the carefully thought out sequences he employs. I recommend this volume to teachers of upper division or honors high school students or adults.
Dorothy Lamberton
Vic's excellent manual illustrates his unique ability to describe in clear and concise language the 'how-to's' of preparing for and leading a meaningful discussion. It [is] a boon to education and a great gift to all faculty from grade one through 16.
VOYA
Moeller's text reminds this reviewer of a hammer-it could be used to help students build a strong understanding of Shakespeare, or wielded with less care, it might pound every bit of fun out of them. Moeller writes clearly yet with so much authority that he borders on becoming authoritarian. The early chapters invite teachers to empower students and genuinely encourage critical thinking, but the version of the Socratic method that he champions is quite demanding and rigid. For teachers who pride themselves on flexibility or a personal approach, Moeller's ideas will lack appeal. The latter chapters provide instructions for applying Moeller's method to five Shakespearean tragedies and five comedies. To emphasize the performance aspect of Shakespeare, he also pairs each play with a filmed version to create a unit of study. In these units, he provides extraordinary detail-a list of timed activities for the entire unit, quizzes for each act, questions for Socratic discussions, exams, and other materials for all ten plays. Teachers unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Shakespeare might be thrilled to discover a text that relieves them of so much preparation. Yet any teacher who tries to use these materials without already having a sound understanding of the plays and an enthusiasm for teaching them will surely end up leading a class as flat and tedious as those Moeller derides in his opening chapters. 2005, Rowman and Littlefield Education, 120p.; Biblio. Further Reading., pb. Ages adult professional.
—Megan Lynn Isaac
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578861774
  • Publisher: R&L Education
  • Publication date: 10/15/2005
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 10.96 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor Moeller currently teaches English at McHenry County College, Crystal Lake, IL. Previously, he taught Rhetoric, English, American, and world literature in private and public high schools and colleges. He was also an in-service field instructor for the Great Books Foundation in Chicago and an area director of professional development in Minnesota. During his years with the Chicago Foundation, he conducted the Great Books Basic and Advanced Leader Training Course in 36 states.He may be reached at http://user.mc.net/~moeller/ or by e-mail at moeller@mc.net. Since 2000, he has also been a reader of the Advanced Placement English Literature and Language Exam for the College Board.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Acknowledgments Part 2 Preface Chapter 3 1. Two Models of Teaching and Learning Chapter 4 2. Techniques of Active and Close Reading Chapter 5 3. The Socratic Method of Teaching and Learning Chapter 6 4. Theory behind the Socratic Method of Teaching and Learning Chapter 7 5. Introduction to Socratic Seminars on Five Tragedies of Shakespeare Chapter 8 6.The Tragedy of Hamlet (1601) Chapter 9 7.The Tragedy of Othello (1603) Chapter 10 8.The Tragedy of King Lear (1606) Chapter 11 9.The Tragedy of Macbeth (1606) Chapter 12 10.The Life of Henry V (1599) Chapter 13 11. Introduction to Socratic Seminars on Five Comedies of Shakespeare Chapter 14 12.The Taming of the Shrew (1595) Chapter 15 13.Much Ado about Nothing (1600) Chapter 16 14.As You Like It (1601) Chapter 17 15.The Merchant of Venice (1602) Chapter 18 16.Measure for Measure (1603) Part 19 References Part 20 Recommended Follow-up Readings Part 21 About the Author

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